Budrus – Canine Visions IX CD Freak Animal 2013
Budrus are an unusual and difficult to categorise project which covers some diverse sonic territory whilst managing to amass it into a coherent whole. Skin Area might be a good comparison in this regard, but not for a comparison to their sound, rather with respect of Skin Area’s own diverse mixture of industrial and non-typical industrial elements. Given their diverse musical influences Budrus arrive at their own sound through a mixture of abstract pounding industrial, guitar based instrumental drone, (almost) martial atmospheres and power electronics attitude evidenced by the gruff, yelled vocals presented without distortion treatment (other than light echo).
In some ways the opening track ‘Canine Vision I’’ is the most straightforward, with its droning analogue synths and aggressive upfront vocals evoking an industrial/ power electronics tone, before the introduction of drums and synth layers which have a vague martial industrial sensibility. This martial sensibility is also evident with the pounding rhythm of ‘Greet Me’, which offsets the loose guitar drones, distorted noise layers and unhinged vocals. The excellent ‘Shores of Glass’ delivers a spare melancholic drone tracks of sweeping tonal textures, sparse kit drums and slow clean guitars, with the mood being altered by the aggressive vocals appearing mid track. Likewise late album track ‘Wake up!’ is an excellent example of the eclectic nature of the project: the vocals hint at power electronics aggression, the synth and percussion hint at martial / industrial genres, yet the the clean and distorted guitars pushes the composition into a sound realm all its own.
Despite its varied musical expression ranging from sparse to focused and heavy, the overarching mood remains a melancholic one, either forming the main focus or remaining as the undercurrent to the more aggressive segments. Beyond musicality comment is warranted regarding the visual presentation. Given that I consider the artwork of any release to be of central importance, to my aesthetic sensibilities the cover and logo do not do this album justice, and on face value it carries a visual feel more suited to a crust punk band or similar. As such I have pondered whether this album might have been better represented with something altogether different. Notwithstanding this aesthetic criticism, ‘Canine Visions IX’ is a varied and ultimately difficult album to categorise, yet one which should confound expectations and reward those adventurous enough to check it out.